Library services under threat from property tax caps - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Library services under threat from property tax caps

Updated:
The push is on to make property tax caps part of Indiana's constitution. The push is on to make property tax caps part of Indiana's constitution.
  • HeadlinesHeadlinesMore>>

  • BREAKING: One dead & multiple houses burn in two alarm fire

    BREAKING: One dead & multiple houses burn in two alarm fire

    Sunday, April 20 2014 2:03 AM EDT2014-04-20 06:03:20 GMT
    Fire crews try to put out a house fire at 28th & Rader Ave.Fire crews try to put out a house fire at 28th & Rader Ave.
    The Indianapolis Fire department confirms that one person has died in a two alarm fire on the near northwest side.
     
    We will have the latest on this fire on Weekend Sunrise at 6 a.m.
    More >>
    The Indianapolis Fire department confirms that one person has died in a two alarm fire on the near northwest side.
     
    We will have the latest on this fire on Weekend Sunrise at 6 a.m.
    More >>
  • Eyewitness News wins 7 AP awards

    Eyewitness News wins 7 AP awards

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:59:03 GMT
    WTHR Channel 13 Saturday was honored with seven first place awards from the Indiana Associated Press, including Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage.More >>
    WTHR Channel 13 Saturday was honored with seven first place awards from the Indiana Associated Press, including Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage.More >>
  • Pacers Fans leave with minutes still left in the game, disappointed by loss

    Pacers Fans leave with minutes still left in the game, disappointed by loss

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:16 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:16:57 GMT
    All of the Pacers' fans were decked out in their blue and gold Saturday night. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, though, fans were singing a different tune. Many left early - even some season ticket holders.More >>
    All of the Pacers' fans were decked out in their blue and gold Saturday night. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, though, fans were singing a different tune. Many left early - even some season ticket holders.More >>

Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - The Marion County library system is cutting hours to cut costs. It's getting far less revenue due to the new property tax caps.

In November, voters across Indiana will decide whether to make those caps part of the state's constitution.

Wednesday morning the Hoosier Property Tax Reform Alliance held an event in Beech Grove encouraging voters to "vote yes on question #1."

The caps were part of a tax reform package passed by the General Assembly two years ago. It was prompted by a change in reassessment that saw many homeowner's bills double or even triple.

Speaking from her front lawn, Denise Douglas told those gathered, "Capping property taxes offers a permanent protection from out-of-control property taxes. Our family has seen over a 30% reduction in our taxes due to property tax caps."

Gov. Mitch Daniels said the caps ensured that "when local spending units want to raise money, they have to get people's permission to do it."

But some say Indiana should hold off on making the caps a constitutional amendment.

David Bottorff is the executive director of the Association of Indiana Counties.

"It my be a fantastic policy but we don't have all the information yet to know all the ramifications, so putting it in the Constitution and limiting what future General Assemblies can do is not a step we should take at this point," he said.

Bottorff said the caps often "create shifts amongst taxpayers. Local governments rely more on other sources of revenue, whether it's higher water and sewer fees or higher income taxes."

The library system has even fewer alternatives. It relies on property taxes for roughly 80% of its revenue. It decided to cut hours and close branches one day a week (two for those already closed Sundays) to save $1.5 million a year.

The Fountain Square branch will be closed Sundays and Fridays, starting October 3rd.

Kevin Shaver uses the branch "several days a week." He said he was disappointed at the reduced hours.

"It means that much less time for computer research and books," said Shaver.

He said he understood the dilemma.

"The good side about the tax caps is it helped a lot of [homeowners] but it hurt a lot of public funded things like schools and libraries," Shaver said.

The governor, who attended the Beech Grove event, was asked about the library's situation.

"They can make their case to fellow citizens for money. They can make their case to the spending authority that libraries are a higher priority than something else going on. What we want them not to be able to do is raise taxes on the Douglas family without asking permission and without limits. You can't do every single thing that well all may like to do especially in times of stress and strain," said Daniels.

Responding to the governor's comments, Bottorff said, "Libraries don't have the option of going to taxpayers and asking for more revenue. Schools have that option."

A library referendum can only be called for capital projects, not operational expenses.

Asked if that should be changed, Republican State Sen. Patricia Miller said, "That's something we can look at, certainly, but I don't think you'll find a lot of enthusiasm for tax increases right now."

Some library advocates have also suggested directing a portion of county option income tax (COIT) money toward libraries. Right now Marion County is one of just two counties out of 92 in Indiana that doesn't allow COIT money to go toward libraries. A change would require legislative approval. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Friends, colleagues remember life of slain IMPD officer

    Friends, colleagues remember life of slain IMPD officer

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-19 16:34:23 GMT
    Picture provided by familyPicture provided by family
    The influence of an IMPD officer killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide went far beyond the police department. Neighbors and those who worked with Ofc. Kimberlee Carmack are still trying to understandMore >>
    The influence of an IMPD officer killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide went far beyond the police department.More >>
  • Franklin mom visited by phony CPS workers

    Franklin mom visited by phony CPS workers

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:11 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:11:37 GMT
    A Franklin woman is warning other mothers after she says two people came to her house and threatened to take her children.More >>
    A Franklin woman is warning other mothers after she says two people came to her house and threatened to take her children.More >>
  • Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

    Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:49:46 GMT
    The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.More >>
    The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.More >>
Powered by WorldNow